Darjeeling (WB): Ahead of the 72-hour Darjeeling Hills bandh called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha from Monday, tourists headed towards plains fearing exorbitant transportation cost and shortage of essential commodities.
People assembled before shops to collect essentials as vehicle operators charged excessive amount to ferry the visitors to Siliguri who were leaving the hill town since this noon.
Some foreigners and domestic tourists, however, chose to stay.
District Magistrate Soumitra Mohan and SP Kunal Agarwal held a meeting. They later said five battalions of striking reserve police force, two battalions IRB and seven battalions of RAF would be deployed in the hills to maintain law and order during bandh.
Morcha sources said their youth wing and student wing would picket at different public places tomorrow to enforce the shutdown.
The GJM, demanding Gorkhaland, has called for the bandh in the Darjeeling hills as the top Congress leadership appears to have veered towards creation of Telangana.
The GJM also demanded that all the police cases lodged against its activists and supporters during their agitation for Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) be withdrawn.